Postgame video: Lakers knock off Golden State
The team's pecking order offensively, he said, has likely shifted. Not to spoil the videos below, but Bryant is still on top. Behind him, it's another story. Andrew Bynum may have moved past Pau Gasol. "It seems like it's changed a little bit... Andrew is thirsty to score and he can score. He has more of a scorer's mentality [than Gasol], so we'll take advantage of that," Kobe said.
It's easy to get too simplistic parsing the definition of a second option, a third option, and so on. Gasol is unquestionably a highly skilled offensive player and will have his share of big scoring games this season. Friday, he posted 17 points to Bynum's nine, and had six more shots. These categorizations are fluid, and likely to change perhaps even game to game as teams adjust how they defend Bynum and the Lakers generally.
Still, in a world where Bynum evolves into a more aggressive scorer and Kobe remains Kobe, someone has to cede some shots or L.A.'s Big Three won't function.
"It's a little bit of an adjustment, but Andrew has been effective so that's why we're going to him a little more," Gasol said. "As long as he's effective and he scores and he's big in the paint as he has been, we'll continue to do that. We have to have a little bit of balance. We can't just be posting up. Somebody has to space the floor a little bit and sacrifice themselves a little bit, so we just have to understand that and [do] whatever it takes to win games."
That "somebody" is obviously him. Particularly given the personalities involved, Gasol's willingness to take that step isn't surprising. Those who don't like Pau's on-court demeanor or question his mental toughness will likely see it as a negative. I don't. Gasol has tremendous pride in his skill level, but is also hardwired for a team oriented approach. Some guys want to score. Gasol has an almost slavish devotion to making the right play, whatever it may be. Admirable, but sometimes detrimental as well.
Except here the alternative would be for him to complain or sulk. How is that productive?
Here's Kobe on "the shift:"
Gasol, on his evolving role:
More video from Friday below, including Kobe, Matt Barnes, and Andrew Goudelock...
More from Gasol, on the offensive dynamic between the Lakers' big three, and his chemistry with Kobe
Andrew Goudelock on hitting two free throws with 9.7 seconds left -- no easy task for a rookie -- and staying mentally ready
Matt Barnes on the challenge of guarding Monta Ellis:
Barnes, on the team's shooting woes:
One more from Kobe, who gives an analysis of the team's offensive style that won't be picked up by the Lakers' marketing department: